Cubicles are great for sparking creative thinking and encouraging teamwork among your co-workers. But there are also plenty of ways you can make life miserable for your cube buddies. Take the following quiz to find out how well you rate in cubicle etiquette.
1. Where do you eat lunch? A. At my desk every day. I like to catch up with my friends on Facebook. B. In the employee break room. I enjoy getting away f,rom my desk and it gives me the chance to chat with my co-workers. C. I eat in my car. I hate socializing and my desk is too covered in germs.
2. How often do you wear perfume or cologne to work? A. Every day. I even like to spray some more on during the course of the day to help me feel fresh. I love stashing those little perfume samples from Vogue in my desk, too. B. Occasionally I’ll splash a little fragrance on in the afternoon if I’m heading out for drinks or dinner after work. C. Never. I hate the smell of perfume and cologne and it drives me crazy when other people wear it, so I try to complain loudly about headaches when I notice my co-workers putting it on.
3. What kind of food do you normally bring for lunch? A. Anything that has curry or fish in it. B. Usually a sandwich and a piece of fruit or a salad. Sometimes I’ll bring leftovers, as long as they’re not too stinky. C. I don’t bring lunch to work. I have too much to do and don’t have time to stop and eat. I don’t understand how other people have so much extra time to take a lunch break.
5. How do you listen to music at work? A. As loudly as I can get away with. When Skynard comes on I crank the speakers to liven the place up a little bit. B. If I’m working on a project that requires a lot of concentration, I’ll sometimes listen to music using head phones to tune out the office din. C. I wear ear plugs all day. I can’t stand having to listen to other people’s conversations or my co-workers who type too loud. I need complete silence to work.
6. How is your cubicle decorated? A. My cubicle looks awesome. I hung up an old Budweiser sign and have a ton of photos of me and my friends out partying. I call it the Wall of Shame. B. I have a framed picture of my kids, a couple of drawings they made for me and a small fern to add a touch of the outdoors. I don’t like a lot of extra clutter. C. The only thing hanging up in my cubicle is this poster:
7. When you have to have a private conversation with someone at work, where do you do it? A. My life’s an open book, so whatever I need to say – whether it’s about how one of my subordinates miscalculated costs on the annual budget or the results of my last prostate exam – I say it out in the open. B. If I need to have a discussion about job performance, complain to my boss or do something personal like schedule a doctor’s appointment, I try to duck into a conference room. C. I don’t generally have conversations with anyone at work. When I’m angry about something, like someone leaving a moldy sandwich in the office refrigerator, I write a note or send a staff-wide e-mail asking them not to be such inconsiderate slobs.
8. How often do you visit with co-workers? A. Whenever I can. I love popping by to talk about last night’s episode of “True Blood” or to share funny e-mail forwards. If they’re on the phone, I just wait until they’re off so we can have a good laugh together. B. Not too often. Everyone is pretty busy at my job so there’s not a whole lot of extra time to chat. If I need to talk to someone, I usually shoot out a quick e-mail asking when would be a convenient time or I catch up with them during our lunch break. C. Never. We’re not at work to socialize and anyway. I don’t really want to spend a lot of extra time chatting with those people.
9. What do you do when you’re sick? A. I have perfect attendance at my job – I even came to work with a 102-degree fever – which shows just how dedicated I am. My co-workers are always nice (offering me tissues so I don’t have to blow my nose on my shirt sleeves and suggesting I take the day off), but I know they’d miss me if I wasn’t there. B. If I’m running a fever or coughing a sneezing a lot, I try to stay home. If I’m feeling okay, I sometimes ask my boss if I can just work from home so I don’t get my co-workers sick. When I return, I try to head to the bathroom during coughing fits and wash my hands frequently. C. I don’t get sick and it totally grosses me out when my co-workers come to work with as much as a sniffle. I keep a stash of surgical masks at my desk to wear when anyone nearby has a cold.
10. How messy is your desk? A. I might have a few piles of papers that have started leaning into my neighbors cubicle and there’s a cup or two of old coffee that has something growing in it. But hey, clutter equals creativity, right? B. I generally keep my desk neat, although when a deadline is approaching things might get a little messy. C. My desk is totally cleared off and I wipe it down with Lysol three times a day. I can’t stand messes.
Answers: Mostly A’s: You’re a Cubicle Clod. Sure you might think you’re the office jokester, but everyone else thinks you’re a jerk. Nobody wants to hear you munching on your lunch, smell your pungent meals and perfume, or listen to your annoying music and bad jokes. Remember, you’re in an office not a bar. You’ll impress your boss, not to mention your co-workers, if you tone it down and are more conscientious about your cubicle neighbors.
Mostly B’s: You’re a Cubicle Connoisseur: You treat your cubicle mates with respect without being condescending and rude. You understand the importance of fostering good relationships in the office and know that there’s a time and a place for socializing. Your co-workers appreciate that you don’t share germs, loud conversations or offensive odors with them.
Mostly C’s: You’re a Cubicle Crank: Sure you might be super-organized, clean and hard-working, but your negative attitude and bitterness will leave a bad taste in all your co-workers’ mouths. It won’t kill you to be friendly to your cubicle mates, rather than always being critical of their conversations. You may even find that a little social interaction might improve your mood.